energy fuel for running, first trail run, lululemon cold weather running clothes, nippy niner trail run, snow running, Trail Run in Saint Louis, what to wear when running in cold temperatures and the snow
With no doubt, the Nippy Niner was the perfect name to describe my first trail run!
My alarm went off at 6:30 am Sunday morning and I jumped out of bed to look outside my window and see how much snow accumulated overnight. There was about 3 inches of snow on the ground! I didn’t expect the snow to accumulate, but I knew a few inches of snow wasn’t going to stop the race from happening. Lets be honest, we did sign up to do a 9 mile trail run in the middle of winter.
I texted my friends to see if they were getting ready and still open to going. Of course everyone said “YES, it will be an adventure, let’s go!”
And Our journey beings!
I have no problem saying I am a lululemon girl, as currently most of my exercise clothes are from Lululemon Athletica! Lululemon changes their product so often that many articles of clothing I wear might not be the exact same product as they have in the stores today. With that said, I bundled up with 3 top layers (swifty tech long sleeve, similar jack to the track time jacket and bundle up jacket), 1 bottom layer (similar pant to the runner under pant), ear warmers (brisk run headband, with wool head band on top), and gloves (similar gloves to the brisk run gloves). I would define myself as a heavy sweater. My body warms up very quickly when I exercise, even in the cold cold temperatures! Therefore, I knew I would be fine wearing minimal clothing, but I knew I needed an extra layer to keep me warm when my bottom layer got sweaty.
Quickly, I grabbed my energy fuel bites/raisins, water bottle with NUUN tablet, extra set of clothing to change into for a warm ride home, and my older sneakers that I didn’t care if they got soaked!
I was ready!
I turned my car on, scraped off the snow, and waited for the rest of my crazy running nerds to arrive! By 7:30 am we were off on the road to start our Sunday Super Bowl Adventure!
The drive took a bit longer than we expected! We passed the exist we were supposed to take by 8 miles, which I am going to blame on the fact that I was concentrating on not slipping on the unplowed highway and avoiding the bad STL drivers…which is kinda true! Also, we probably should have taken a faster route to Missouri’s Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, where the race was held. But we live and we learn and we got to the race just in time to get our bibs, go to the bathroom, and be at the starting line a few minutes before the start of the race! In fact, we were glad we didn’t get there earlier because then we would have been standing outside in the cold until the race started, especially since we had to park about 0.5 mile away from the starting line.
The nine mile course started with 3 miles of flat gravel road and a short section of “paved” road covered in about 2 inches of snow. Luckily, a truck drove ahead of us creating a “plowed” tire path for us to run on. This part was the easiest part of the race by far! We were chatting with ourselves, other racers, and thinking, “this isn’t so bad.”
The rate of difficulty went from a 3 to 10 as soon as we entered the River’s Edge Trail! The 4 mile foresty trail was slippery (Many people slipped and fell. I almost wiped out multiple times, but thankfully I caught myself every time!), narrow (it was hard to pass people in addition to the ankle-deep snow), and hilly! The race website described this section as ,”a technical, undulating and windy single track trail,” and they weren’t kidding! My quads and gluts got a 4 mile burning workout that they never had experienced before! If you slowed down because you were tired, in pain, or to avoid slipping, people would be awkwardly running behind you, deciding if they should pass you or not. So I just ran as fast I could and all I cared about was getting out of the woods and onto the a “paved” road! Sadly, I only appreciated the beautiful view of the lake with its icy winter glow for maybe a split second. My eyes were glued to the path!
I never was so excited to see a water station and a “paved” road at the exist of the River’s Edge Trail. The “paved” road gave our legs some rest, but it only lasted for about 1/2 mile until we got to the “gravel” road!
Lets just say, there was no “gravel” road! This section of the course did not exist and it was about 1.5 miles long! The issue was that there weren’t enough people in front of us to make a visible path and the wind blew snow over any foot prints that were made. We literally trudged through a snow-covered meadow with our heads down, as the wind kept pushing in all directions. The calf workout was similar to running along the beach on soft sand with a refreshing breeze, but instead we were running on ankle-deep snow with a cold strong wind. I swear my calves were getting bigger and bigger by the minute! I kept looking for a road and one time I saw a brown patch and go so excited I screamed, “I found the road!” It was not a road, but a calve deep quick sand like puddle of mud! Sweet! I quickly reacted and jumped out of the skwooshy puddle! You bet I stayed on the white white snow the rest of the way!
Finally, we saw the finish line and reached a “paved” road that lead us to the end of the race! I got my legs back and booked it to the finish line, not letting the wind slow me down!
I finished with my hands up in the air and a smile on my face, screaming, “That was crazy, but boy was that a blast!”
We all looked at each other and couldn’t believe what we just did!
The Nippy Niner was truly a race I will never ever forget! I finished first in my age group, even though I never once thought of the run as a race. I did it for an adventure with friends, who simply love to run. This trail run went beyond my expectations! The snow did create a more difficult race, but at least I now can say I ran 9 miles through ankle-deep snow at 8:30ish pace! I am not complaining!
During the entire race, I was either concentrating on not slipping OR looking for some type of path to run on OR thinking to myself how crazy of an experience this run has become, that it didn’t cross my mind to eat or wish I had brought music to listen to. This was my first race I decided to not bring me head phones and I am glad I didn’t because the people and race itself kept me occupied and motivated to finish strong. However, my stomach and fueling my body never crossed my mind once! I didn’t eat one energy bite! So after I caught my breath, I stood by the heater, and enjoyed my Trail Mix Caffeine Bites and Fudgie Babies! I was hungry and needed fuel fast! I grabbed a water and ran back to my car! My whole body would have gone completely numb quickly, if I walked back in my very wet clothes! I turned on my car, blasted the heat, and took of my wet sneakers and wet clothes as fast as I could! It never felt so good to bundled up in warm, dry clothes and Ugg boots! By far the best decision of the day!
We all got in the car and we couldn’t stop talking about the craziness that we just witnessed….that we just experienced together!
I don’t know if all trail runs are like this one, but I can’t wait to do another one!…but maybe leave out the snow next time!
The only thing I would have done differently is wear shoes with more traction for trail and snow running. With that said, does anyone have any suggestions for trail running shoes and/or snow chain shoe attachments, that you would recommend buying for trail and snow running?
Thanks for reading! Happy Trail Running!